You can use all cash machines for free – why pay?

Outside my local supermarket there are three banks’ cash machine’s in the wall. Today I needed some cash, so went straight to one of the two empty ones (Abbey and Barclays). Rather bizarrely, there were six people queuing for the NatWest one. I was intrigued so I asked, and they were NatWest customers. At which point I pointed out it was free to use the other machines, and the functionality was mostly similar (not all believed me – then again a strange man talking to you in the queue may just do that).

So I thought it would be useful to reiterate the basic cash machines rules.

You can use all machines. All UK bank customers can withdraw money from all machines.
Bank based cash machines are free. All bank based cash machines allow free withdrawals of cash for all UK bank customers – even if it’s not your bank.
Most ‘wall entrenched’ cash machines are free. If a cash machine is actually embedded in a wall, near a supermarket or at a station, and it is a bank branded cash machine, it’s almost always free (though be slightly careful at garages).
Standalone cash machines usually charge you a fee. Cash machines that are free standing, and commonly not supplied by a bank, usually charge a fee; they should indicate this to you.
Credit card cash withdrawals cost. Don’t withdraw cash on a credit card, you’ll have to pay a fee to your bank (separate to any fee charged by the ATM itself) plus you’ll be charged interest on it – usually at a much higher rate than for normal spending, and you’ll still be charged interest even if you pay the bill in full at the end of the month.

The above rules are a very good rule of thumb, but there are always exceptions. However if that happens you will be notified of the fee before getting the cash. By following the above you should save lots of time, which will easily outweigh the amount of time lost on the very rare occassions there’s an anomalous machine.

So next time, if there are a few cash machines at a station in the wall – don’t queue, just use the empty one.

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